Melissa Palmer and Reagan 10 receiving their First Level Reserve National Championship title. (Photo of Susan Stickle Photography)
Purcellville, Virginia (November 20, 2018) –For Grand Prix rider, trainer and USDF Bronze, Silver and Gold Medalist, Melissa Palmer of Echo Hill Farm, there has been no greater pride than to see her gifted young Oldenburg (Bellissimo M x San Amour x Don Schufro) mare, Reagan 10, continue to follow in the talented footsteps of the dressage horses whose exceptional lineage she carries.
The now-six year-old Reagan 10, bred by Clemens von Merveldt at Gut Füchtel Stud, near Vechta, Germany, and trained/ridden by Palmer, concluded her 2018 show season with a USDF Region 1 First Level Championship as well as the Champion Adult Amateur Equitation with a score of 80% in October at the Virginia Horse Center. This qualified the pair for the USDF National Finals at the Kentucky Horse Park where they earned the First Level Reserve National Championship with scores over 71%.
Palmer purchased Reagan 10 in Germany while on a buying trip. Palmer was seeking an young horse that she could take up the levels to replace her Grand Prix mare, L’Amour. Reagan caught her eye and she tried the three-year-old who was younger and greener than she had thought she had planned for and then went on to try several other horses that matched her criteria but every time she tried a different sale horse, she kept thinking about Reagan. “When I first tried her, she had just started under saddle. She didn’t steer at all! I had to ride her on a lunge line.” But Palmer had a keen sense about Reagan’s potential and ended up buying her.
Because the mare was so young, Palmer opted to keep her in Germany with the breeder for another year. Reagan got the time she needed, out on pasture, to mature. At four, she went into training to prepare for her Mare Performance Test in Vechta.
Reagan started showing – and winning — and hasn’t stopped. She earned her Main Premium at Vechta winning her mare test with a test rider score of 9.5 then went on to win the Rastede 4-Year-Old Oldenburg Championships and earn a Nomination to Compete at the Budneschampionate. In 2017, Palmer decided to move Reagan to Helen Langehanenberg’s stable in Billerbeck Germany for more advanced training. At the Holtkämper Dressage Days in Bielefeld, Reagan and Helen won her 5-Year-Old Bundeschampionate qualifier with a score of 8.7. They then went on to compete in the 2017 Bundeschampionate with a score of 8.1. Palmer took a sabbatical from work and moved to Munster Germany for 6 months to immerse herself in the very top of Dressage sport, based at Helen’s yard the entire time. It was a truly fabulous experience, to both train with and watch Helen’s daily training on all of her top Grand Prix horses as well as many very high quality up and coming young horses. I also went to all the top shows to include Aachen, European Championships in Gothenburg, The Young Horse World Championships in Ermelo, the Bundeschampionate. Then it was time to fly home and start a new chapter in their show career together in the United States. And already as a six-year-old Reagan is proving that the 10 in her name may be symbolic!
Palmer has big plans for Reagan following their Regional and National victories, but first some well-earned R & R is in order for this young star. “Reagan gets a little vacation,” Palmer explained, “Then it’s on to Wellington, where Palmer and Reagan will train with Lars Petersen. When she’s ready, we’ll show again. Our focus is moving her up to Third or Fourth level now.” There is excitement in working with an Olympian and Palmer’s ability to train horses (especially mares) at their best pace enhances the plan. Buying a 3-year-old takes skill, commitment, and a little luck but Palmer’s decision may very well have been the “Perfect 10”.
Echo Hill Farm is a private Elite Dressage Sport Horse Training and Breeding Facility, with an extensive network of dressage experts in the US and Germany, enabling them to find the finest prospects for future international sport. Learn more at echohilldressage.comand follow Melissa Palmer, Reagan 10 and Echo Hill Farm on Facebook.